Sony, Universal Ease Stand On Downloadable Music

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Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment plan to sell music downloads that consumers can freely copy beginning this summer, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times yesterday.


In an acknowledgement that online piracy is forcing major changes in the music industry, Universal plans to sell tens of thousands of high-quality digital singles for 99 cents or less and albums for $9.99 through online retailers such as Amazon.com, BestBuy and Sam Goody, the LA Times reported.


Universal plans to make new and old releases available for download and may offer downloads before the music is available on CD, according to the story.


Also, Universal reportedly plans to let consumers record downloaded songs freely to CDs, a major shift for the company.


Meanwhile, Sony has changed its policy on downloads to allow CD burning and will cut the price of singles from $2 to $1.49 per song this summer.


Sony initially offered downloadable singles only through its Web site using a special player and restricted copying.


With two giants like Sony and Universal easing their positions on downloading and copying music, the rest of the industry is expected to follow suit.


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